In a recent conversation with a friend, we got to talking about religion and faith. No surprise there. It was an especially enjoyable conversation, though, because my friend doesn't consider himself religious. Nothing against it, mind you. It just never really made much sense to him or seemed like it really mattered.
Along the way, he raised one of his questions: Jesus lived so long ago. How can we know that that information we have about him can be trusted? In other words, can we trust what we read in the Bible?
That's actually a great question. A very common one, in fact.
There are also some very good answers to that question. They may not persuade someone who just set against the notion of God. There are people for whom no evidence would be sufficient. For someone who is open-minded to the possibility, there are good reasons to think that the accounts we have in the Bible are dependable and should be taken seriously.
Nicholas Davis has written an excellent summary of those answers in an article titled "Why I Trust the Bible." He gives five reasons and a succinct explanation of each one.
The article is simple and direct. It doesn't go into all the possible detail, but gives the basic outline of why it is perfectly reasonable to accept that the Bible is true, and to accept the truth that it proclaims.
I have always like Andy Stanley's formulation of this idea.
"If a man can predict his own death and resurrection, and then pull it off, I just go with whatever that man says."
Yup, we can depend on the Bible. It may be a little hard to figure out sometimes, but considering what's in it, the effort is worth it.
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